What Is Pyrography?
Pyrography is the art of making marks with a heated tool, usually onto wood. My gran (the best artist I have ever seen!) said they called it ‘poker work’, cause they used to use a tool like a poker to do it. You can get proper pyrography tools but, just like the good old poker, they still need careful handling.
This may be a bit Health And Safety Mad to hit you with the warnings so early on, but if you’re anything like me you won’t do much/any research before starting out, so I better pop them in early while as many of you as possible are still reading!
- Stating the obvious here, but the end of the tool can get VERY hot so be careful you don’t touch it and make sure you have planned ahead and thought about where you are going to put it to cool down after you have finished. The one I have comes with a little stand to rest it on, but not all of them do.
- They can make a lot of smoke so make sure you work in a well ventilated room.
- If you press too heavily with the pyrography tool while drawing, it can bend or even snap the ends. I have been experimenting with mine for a couple of weeks now and I have already had one of the fine nib attachments snap in half and land on a blanket I had on my lap, burning right through it.
I hope, like me, none of this will stop you giving pyrography a go, as it really is great fun and you can make such a range of beautiful things, you just need to be a bit careful.
The Art Of Manliness has a great beginners guide to pyrography, which is well worth a look if you are thinking about giving it a try. There are lots of places you can buy pyrography tools or kits from. Mine is from Hobbycraft, but you can also get some good pyrography stuff on Amazon, so please search for ‘pyrography’ on the links below if you want to give it a try.
I hate planning (I may have said that a few times before!), but I think this is one of the situations where a little bit of forward thinking goes a long way. Decide on what you want to draw, what material you will use and may be do a faint pencil sketch of your drawing onto your chosen material before you heat up the pyrography tool and start working away. Enjoy creating some unique art.
My Pyrography Projects…so far
My mother-in-law (Nanny to our children) bought me my pyrography tool for Christmas so I made her a little key ring with it with LOVE on one side and NANNY on the other. I shaded the piece of wood in pale pink first using a colouring pencil and then sketched out the letters before finally finishing it off with the pyrography tool. I also used the tool to scorch round the edge of the keyring because I quite liked the effect it made and the original piece of wood I used wasn’t finished off very well at the edges and I didn’t want it to keep splintering.
My friend orders a lot of beautiful personalised pyrography gifts online from places like Not On The High Street. While she was ordering some lovely ‘thank you teacher’ gifts, I said I would make her something like that (not that I had ever done it before so was probably rubbish at it)! So when I got my pyrography tool I asked her what she would like me to make and we decided on a room sign for her son. I then made one each for my girls, one who loves talking about rabbits and one whose room is full of owls. Hobbycraft sells packs of round wooden disks, which are an ideal size for making coasters, so I made one for my children’s friend for his birthday and I also made a few ‘thank you coasters’ this year instead of doing all thank you cards. My daughters did all the colouring in first in colouring pencils and then I did the pyrography over the top. Hobbycraft also sells blank wooden spoons and little people which I have personalised for my children.
There’s lots of other things I already want to make using pyrography, so I will let you know how I get on. If you do give it a go I hope you love it as much as I do and please share your results with us.